Behind the pitching of J.A. Happ and the bullpen, and the relentless bats of the Phils’ offense, the Phils defeat the presently winless Astros, 8-0. The Phils, with their victory, and with losses by both the Braves and the Marlins, took sole possession of 1st place in the NL East.
The Phils took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as, with runners on first and second, and with one man out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI double, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier walked, moves up to second on Placido Polanco’s single, and then went to third on a Chase Utley fly out, while sending Polanco, who had earlier singled, over to third base. Two batters later, with runners still on second and third, and now with two outs, Raul Ibanez joins the Phils’ hitting parade with a two-run double, scoring both Polanco and Howard, giving the Phils a 3-0 lead. After being kept from scoring on bases loaded opportunties in both the second and the third innings, the Phils added to their lead in the fourth when, with one man out, Utley hits a solo home run, his first home run of the season, to make it a 4-0 Phils’ lead. Three batters later, with a runner on second, and now with two men outs, Ibanez hits an RBI double, knocking in Howard, who has earlier doubled, making it 5-0 Phils. The Phils continued their scoring in the fifth as, with a runner on second, and once again with two men out, Polanco hits an RBI double, scoring Rollins, who has just doubled, giving the Phils a 6-0 lead. One batter later, the Phils increased their lead to 7-0 as Utley hits an RBI single, knocking in Polanco. As the Phils were scoring, their starter, J.A. Happ, continues where he left off from his rookie season, as he blanks the Astros in six innings, pitching out of trouble, as he gives up only six hits and two walks, while striking out five Astros, followed by the bullpen which pitches four shut out innings, while striking out five more Astros. The Phils add their last run in the seventh as, with runners on first and second, and with one man out, Polanco hits an RBI single, knocking in Carlos Ruiz, who has earlier singled, and has gone to second on a walk to Rollins, while sending Rollins to third, while he would move up to second on the throw, giving the Phils an 8-0 lead. That would be the final score as Jose Contreras pitches a 1-2-3 ninth.
J.A. Happ gets the win as he pitches six strong shut out innings, plus two batters, giving up just six hits and two walks, while he strikes out five. His record is now 1-0 with an 0.00 ERA. David Herndon, Danys Baez and Jose Contreras combine for four shut out innings, giving up just two hits (Herndon), while striking out five (Herndon (2), Baez (1), Contreras (2)). Bud Norris took the lost as he lasts only two and two-thirds innings, giving up three runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out three. His record is now 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA. Wilton Lopez pitches an inning and a third, giving up two runs on three hits, while striking out one. Brian Moehler pitches three innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out one. Chris Sampson pitches a scoreless inning, giving up just a hit. Jeff Fulchino also pitches a scoreless inning, striking out a batter.
The Phils’ offense had sixteen hits in the game, with Polanco leading the attack with four hits, including a double, while knocking in two runs, as he increased his batting average to .579. Raul Ibanez followed with three hits, including two doubles, knocking in three runs, as he raised his average to .267. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth all followed with two hits each, with Rollins’ hits being a single and a double, scoring two runs; Utley’s hits being a solo home run and a single, knocking in two runs while scoring one; Howard’s hits being two doubles, knocking in a run, while scoring two; and Werth’s hits both being singles. Carlos Ruiz had one hit, a single, scoring a run. The Phils’ offense had seven extra-base hits (2B (6), HR (1)) in the ballgame. The Phils’ offense had ten hits or more in their first four games, doing so for the first time since 1926.
The Phillies (3-1, 1st NL East), will continue their road trip to Houston with a night game against the Astros (0-4, 6th NL Central). The game will be played at Minute Maid Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern (6:05 pm Central). The ageless wonder Jamie Moyer (0-0, -.–) will start the game for the Phils, hoping to continue from spring training. Felipe Paulino (0-0, -.–) will start for the Astros, trying to put a stop to the Astros four game slide. The Phils will try to win their second straight series of the season with a win tonight.
The Phils’ magic number is now down to one as their offense wakes up long enough to defeat the Astros, 7-4, while the Marlins hold on to defeat the Braves. The Phils will be looking to clinch their third straight NL Eastern Division title tonight behind veteran pitcher Pedro Martinez.
The Astros took an early 1-0 lead in the third as, with two men out, Lance Berkman hits a solo home run, his twenty-fifth home run of the season. The Phils would tie the game up at one-all in their half of the third as, with one man on, and with one man out, Jimmy Rollins hits an RBI double, knocking in Paul Bako, who had earlier walked, and had moved up to second on Phils’ starter J.A. Happ’s sacrifice bunt. The Phils then took the lead in the fourth as, with the bases loaded, via singles by Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez, and a walk to Jayson Werth, which sent Howard to third and Ibanez to second, with nobody out, Pedro Feliz hits a grand slam home run, his twelfth home run of the season, his seventh career grand slam, and the eleventh grand slam hit by the Phils this season, making it a 5-1 Phils’ lead. The Astros would get a run back in the fifth as, with two men on, and with one man out, Carlos Lee hits an RBI single, knocking in Miguel Tejada, who had earlier singled, and had moved up to second when Berkman reached base on catcher’s interference, cutting the Phils’ lead to 5-2, while sending Berkman, who had went to first on catcher’s interference, moved up to second. The Phils increased their lead in their half of the fifth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Werth hits a two-run home run, his thirty-fifth home run of the year, scoring Ibanez, who had earlier walked, giving the Phils a 7-2 lead. In the sixth, the Astros would get those two runs back as, with a man on, and with two outs, Kazuo Matsui hits a two-run home run, his ninth home run of the season, scoring J.R. Towles, who had earlier doubled, making it a 7-4 Phils’ lead. But that would be the final score, as Jamie Moyer would come in to hold down the fort for an inning and a third, and then Ryan Madson would come in to pitch for two innings, recording his tenth save of the season, as he struck out Hunter Pence to end the game.
J.A. Happ got the win as he pitched five and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs, only three of which were earned, on nine hits and a walk, while striking out six. His record is now 12-4 with a 2.85 ERA. Jamie Moyer recorded his first hold as he pitched an inning and a third of scoreless relief, giving up only a walk, while he struck out one. Ryan Madson collected his tenth save of the year as he pitched two innings of shut out ball, giving up just two hits, as he struck out two. Wilton Lopez took the lost as he pitched three and two-thirds innings, giving up five runs on six hits and two walks, as he struck out two. His record is now 0-1 with a 9.42 ERA. Wesley Wright pitched one and a third innings, giving up two runs on a hit and a walk, while he struck out two. Chad Paronto, Jeff Fulchino and Samuel Gervacio combined to keep the Phils off the board for three innings, giving up only one hit (Paronto), while striking out two batters (Fulchino (1), Gervacio (1)).
The Phils had eight hits in the game, with both Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth leading the way with two hits each, with one of Rollins’ hits being an RBI double, while one of Werth’s hits was a two-run home run. Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Pedro Feliz and Paul Bako had the other four Phils’ hits, with Feliz’s hit being a grand slam home run, which put the Phils ahead for good. The Phils’ offense will be trying to break the game open early tonight to finally end the pennant race.
The Phils (91-66, 1st East) continue their four-game set with the Astros (73-84, 5th Central) with a night game. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern and will be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils will send to the mound Pedro Martinez (5-1, 3.32), who is coming off a neck injury. His last start was a lost against the Braves on September 19, when he went only three innings because of tightness in his neck, as he gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out one, in the Phils’ 6-4 lost. Martinez will be trying to pitch the Phils into the playoffs tonight. The Astros will counter with Brian Moehler (8-11, 5.21), who is coming off a lost against the Reds on September 25, as he pitched two and a third innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out only two, in the Astros’ 10-4 lost. He will try to hold off the clinching party for at least one more night. The Phils will be trying to clinch their third straight NL Eastern Division crown tonight, so that they can use the final four games to set things up for the Divisional Series.
For the second night in a row, a Phillies ninth inning rally falls short as the Phillies, for the second straight night, lose to the Astros, 4-3. The Phillies would score the game’s first run in the top of the first on a RBI double by Ryan Howard, knocking in Shane Victorino, who has earlier reached base on first baseman Lance Berkman’s fielding error. The Astros would take the lead in the bottom of the first, as Phillies’ starter Brett Myers gives up a RBI double to Carlos Lee, knocking in Michael Bourn, who has reached base earlier on a single, and Berkman, who has earlier walked, making it 2-1 Astros. The Phillies would regain the lead in the third, as Howard hits a two run homer off of Astros’ starter Brian Moehler, his fourteenth home run of the year, giving the Phils a 3-2 lead. The Astros would then tie it in the bottom of the fifth, as Lee hits a RBI single to left, scoring Bourn, who has earlier doubled. But, when Berkman tires to score after Pat Burrell’s throw gets away from Chase Utley, he would be thrown out at home plate by Ryan Howard’s throw to Chris Coste, who tags out Berkman for the final out of the inning, keeping the score tied at 3-3. The Astros would then retake the lead in the sixth, as Myers gives up a RBI single to pitch hitter Mark Loretta, scoring Ty Wigginton, who has earlier singled, making it 4-3 Astros. The game would stay that way until the ninth, when the Phillies attempted a late inning rally. With Doug Brocail pitching, Pedro Feliz and Chris Coste would both reach base on singles. After Carlos Ruiz would go in to pinch run for Coste, Brocail would committ a throwing error as he throws the ball into center field as he attempts to pick off Feliz at second, sending Feliz and Ruiz to third and second. Brocail would then get pinch hitter Greg Dobbs to fly out, with neither runner advancing. After intentionally walking Jimmy Rollins, Brocail would face Victorino with the bases loaded. After the count goes to 2-0, Victorino would hit a fly ball to left. Darin Erstad would make the catch for out number two. Erstad would then throw towards home as Feliz attempts to score to tie the game. Erstad’s throw would beat Feliz to the plate, where he is tagged out by catcher Brad Asmus for the final out, preserving the game for the Astros, and giving Brocail his second save of the season.
Brett Myers would take the lost, as he goes six innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits. His record is now 2-6 with a 5.79 ERA. The main question now is what is the matter with Myers as he doesn’t seem to be able to hold leads when they are given to him, or to throw a good pitch at the right moment to get himself out of jams. Chad Durbin would pitch two innings of relief, giving up no runs on two hits. Brian Moehler records the win, as he also goes six innings, giving up three runs, two of which were earned, on four hits. Tim Byrdak would pitch one and two-thirds innings of relief, giving up no runs on one hit. Oscar Villarreal would pitch to only one batter in the eighth, giving up no runs on no hits. Wesley Wright would go one-third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Doug Brocail would pitch the ninth, earning his second save of the year, as he gives up no runs on two hits.
The Phillies (27-24) will conclude their trip to Houston (29-22, 3rd National League Central) with an afternoon game at Minute Maid Park, which is already in progress. The Phillies’ starting pitcher is Cole Hamels (5-3, 2.61). The Astros’ starter is Chris Sampson (3-3, 5.91). The Phils’ hope to get a win today to get a series spilt and head back home to Philadelphia with a winning road trip.
The Phils are now trailing the Marlins by two games, thanks to their lost, as the Marlins were rained out last night. Today they are playing a twinbill with the Giants, with the Marlins presently leading in the first game, 7-6. The Phils are now a game behind the second place Braves, who are presently trailing the Diamondbacks 6-3. They are two games ahead of the Mets, who are tied with the Rockies 0-0.
The Phillies (27-23) will conclude their four games trip to Houston by playing two more games against the Astros (28-22, 3rd National League Central) tonight and tomorrow afternoon. Tonight’s game will be played at Minute Maid Park, starting at 7:05 pm Eastern (6:05 pm Central). The Phils’ starter will be Brett Myers (2-5, 5.76), who, although pitching well, came up with the lost in the Phils’ 4-0 lost to the Nationals. In that game, he would pitch six innings, giving up only three earned runs on eight hits. Myers has lost four of his five starts for the Phils, while getting a no-decision in his other start, which the Phils also lost. Career wise, he is 3-2 against the Astros, with a 4.91 ERA, in seven starts. One of his victories over the Astros came earlier this year as he received the victory in the Phils’ 10-2 win against the Astros back on April 17. In that game, he would pitch seven innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits. It was after this game that he began to have his pitching troubles. Hopefully he will improve on his last start, and improve his record with a victory. His opponent will be Brian Moehler (1-1, 4.76), who is coming off a lost to the Cubs on May 19, where he went only five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits in the Astros’ 7-2 lost. This will probably be his last start, as the Astros are expected to reactive Wandy Rodriguez next week. He hopes to improve his record with a win against the Phillies.
The final game of the Phillies’ trip to Houston, and of their seven games road trip, will be played tomorrow afternoon in Minute Maid Park. The game will start at 2:05 pm Eastern (1:05 pm Central). The Phils’ starter for that game will be Cole Hamel (5-3, 2.61), who is coming off a no-decision against the Nationals on May 20. In that game, he would give up no runs on four hits while striking out eleven, which the Phils would eventually win 1-0. Hamels has not given up a run in his last nineteen innings, going back to the last three innings of his start against the Giants on May 9. Hamels has won three of his last five starts, with the Phils winning all five. His career record against the Astros is 3-0 with a 3.14 ERA. He hopes to throw up some more goose eggs while trying to improve his record and continue to lower his ERA. The Astros will be sending to the mound Chris Sampson (3-3, 5.91), who is coming off a win against the Cubs on May 20, when he pitched six and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits, in the Astros’ 4-2 win. He has won two of his last four starts, pitching well in his wins and getting knocked around in his two no-decisions. Lifetime against the Phillies he is 0-2 with a 6.19 ERA in four games. He hopes to get his first career win against the Phils while improving his record.
The Phillies’ offense hope this time to supply both Myers and Hamels with some runs support, unlike they did during the two games that the pair have pitched in Washington, when they scored only one run in eighteen innings. They also hope to continue their hitting displays of Wednesday and Thursday night, when they knocked in nineteen runs on thirty hits.
After finishing their series in Houston, the Phils will go home to Citizens Bank Park, where they will begin a ten games home stand, starting on Monday with a three games series against the 2007 National League Champions Colorado Rockies.
The Phillies are trailing the Marlins by a game and a half, along with the Braves, who are leading them by .002 percentage points. Both the Phils and the Braves are leading the presently slumping Mets by four games. The Phillies plan on winning their final two games in Houston so that they can have both a winning series and a winning road trip.
The Phillies’ offense would come up short in the ninth inning as they lose to the Houston Astros, 4-3, wasting a good effort by Adam Eaton. The Phils would score first, as Pat Burrell hits a solo home run off of Astros’ starter Brandon Backe in the second inning, his twelfth home run of the year. That would be the score until the bottom of the fifth inning, as Eaton and Backe would keep both teams quiet, Backe with his slow curve and Eaton with generally good pitching. But then, in the Astros’ fifth, Eaton would give up a solo shot to Hunter Pence, for his sixth home run of the year, tying the score at one. The Astros would later threathen to take the lead by getting two men on base with one out, but Eaton would get out of the inning by getting Michael Bourn to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. The score would remain tie until the bottom of the seventh, when Pence, leading off the inning, would hit a 3-0 fastball out of the ballpark for his second home run of the night off of Eaton, his seventh home run of the year, to give the Astros a 2-1 lead. The Astros would then increase their lead to 3-1 on a Bourn single, scoring J.R. Towles, who has earlier singled. The Astros would add another run in the eighth when Carlos Lee hit a sacrifice fly off of Ryan Madson, scoring Lance Berkman, who has earlier tripled. The Phillies would try to rally back in the ninth against Astros’ closer Jose Valverde. Burrell would start the rally off with a double to center field. After moving to third on a ground out, Burrell would score on a line drive single by Pedro Feliz off of Valverde’s face, making the score 4-2 Astros. After the Astros’ trainer have taken several minutes to look Valverde over to make sure that he could continue to pitch, Carlos Ruiz would hit a single, moving Feliz to second base. After Eric Bruntlett goes in to pinch run for Ruiz, Valverde would strike out pinch hitter Chris Coste for the second out. Jimmy Rollins would then hit a line drive double, scoring Feliz and sending Bruntlett, who had to dive to get out of the way of Rollins’ line drive, to third, making the score 4-3 Houston. With two men in scoring position and two out, Shane Victorino would come to the plate. After getting the count full, Victorino would hit a fly ball to center field, ending the ballgame, as Valverde is able to nail down his fifteenth save of the year.
Adam Eaton would take the lost, as he pitches seven innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits. His record drops to 0-3, with a ERA of 5.37. Eaton by now must be wondering what he has to do to actually win a ballgame. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning in relief, giving up an earned run on one hit. Brandon Backe would pick up the win for the Astros, as he would go seven and one-third innings, giving up only one earned run on six hits. Doug Brocail would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits as he snuffs out a Phillies’ rally in the eighth, leaving the bases loaded. Jose Valverde, in spite of being hit in the face by a line drive, would record his fifteenth save of the season as he pitches one inning, giving up two earned runs on four hits.
Despite the lost, the Phillies are still one and a half games behind the Marlins, as the fish loses their game with the Giants. They are still technically tied for second place with the Braves, .002 percentage points behind them, as the Braves were crushed in their game with the Diamondbacks. The Phils and the Braves are still leading the Mets by three games, as the Mets loses their game with the Rockies in extra-innings.
The Phillies (27-23) will continue their four games series with the Astros (28-23, 3rd National League Central) at Minute Maid Park. The game will start tonight at 7:05 pm Eastern (6:05 pm Central). The Phils’ starter will by Brett Myers (2-5, 5.76), who is coming off another lost, as he pitched six innings against the Nationals on May 19, in the Phils’ 4-0 lost, giving up only three runs on eight hits. Myers has lost four of his last five starts, with a no-decision in his other start. He’ll be looking to improve on his last start while trying to improve his record. In his previous start against the Astros, he would go seven innings, giving up only an earned run on five hits, as he picks up the win in the Phils’ 10-2 win. The Astros will send to the mound Brian Moehler (1-1, 4.76), who is coming off a lost to the Chicago Cubs on May 19, where he would pitch five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, in the Astros’ 7-2 lost. He will be trying to improve his record in what could be his last start in place of Wandy Rodriguez, who should be coming off the disabled list next week.
The Phils’ offense hopes to continue what they were doing on Wednesday and Thursday nights, where they scored nineteen runs on thirty hits. Although they got ten hits in last night’s game, they were only able to score three runs, thanks mainly to the slow curveballs that were being served up to them by Backe. They hope not to have similar problems with Moehler tonight.